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361662 tn?1204239310

xanax withdrawl

I was given xanax in1991 for a panic disorder specific to driving, 3mgs a day. During the past 4 years i have reduced to 2mgs a day and was doing OK. I am wanting to get off the medication and tried tapering down .5mg earlier this month with extreme pain, disorientation and a bunch of intense side effects, twitching, nausea etc. The only thing I can compare it too was the side effects of chemotherapy, (am a 6 year breast cancer survivor). After about a week of this, with no lessining of the pain, headaches, body pain in every joint and muscle,I saw my psyciatrist. She advised me to go back to my 2mgs a day dosage and seek hospitalization for xanax de-tox.She advised me it was too dangerous to do alone, due to possibilty of seizure, stroke, neurological issues and more.She said I should be very closely monitiored..
It seems hard to understand why the tapering down from the 3mgs to 2mgs was not that bad, which I also did in.5 mg increments and stepping down a bit more was so awful. Actually I tried this about 6 months ago with similar symptoms , but for only 3 or 4 days as I felt horrible..
We are planning an in-patient stay at Peachford Hospital in Atlanta. I have already contacted them and researched the staff etc.My insurance will cover up to 15 days. I am not sure what to expect.
The counselor I spoke with at Peachford informed me that they can give me other meds ? to help.
I will find out more when I go for an assessment, but she also said to be prepared to be admitted the same day. I am getting things in order to be ready to enter the hospital sometime in mid-January.
Can you advise me as to what I might expect in this 15 day stay? I know they do alot of group therapy . The medical staff qualifications seems first rate.
By the way, I di not experience much anxiety tapering, just immense physical discomfort.
Thanks, peaches
28 Responses
Avatar universal
i am not trying to scare u but it is scientificly proven that xanax withdraws can kill you. i would NOT go any lower until u speak to your doctor and tell him everyone of ur symptoms.  good luck please keep us posted.. keep ur head up and stay strong.
Avatar universal
I just read your post, and it appears that you have great knowledge of Xanax withdrawls, etc.  I, too, have been on Xanax for about a year and a half (approx 18 months, give or take). 2 mgs per day. When I try to ween off, 1 1/2 mgs per day, I experience weakness on my left side, twitches, wake up with shakes, anxiety attacks etc. My Doc. just prescribed Paxil to help ween me off the Xanax, but I have heard of awful ghost stories from those on Paxil (20mgs).  I don't feel 18 months is an awfully long time to have been on Xanax, but I am scared of both drugs.  Do you have any insight???
361662 tn?1204239310
Thanks for your post.
I have a good psychiatrist and as I mentioned I have been able to taper down , on my own, over a period of 3-4 years, without severe withdrawl.
When I go for the assessment at Peachford, which has an excellent staff of doctors, including a neurologist, several psychiatrists and other specialists, whom I have researched, I will bring up the suggestions and warnings which you mentioned.
When I spoke with the counselors there, they said I will probably be given medications as deemed appropriate and monitoed carefully. I also may just taper , rather than totally be off all meds. I will ask alot of questions. Thanks for telling me about Klonipin. I am also going to ask about pain management. I already know how intense the pain is from my attemps earlier this month to continue the tapering at home. I am also been made aware of the dangers.
Being, I live alone, with no close family near by, the idea of being in a hospital gives me some feeling of safety.The saftey factor is very important as well. This is why my psychiatrist suggested I go there. It is a difficult descion to make. And again i am very grateful for your input. IAlso it is quite likely, that I may spend the next year , after discharge as an out patient in a psychiatric facility in my town. The more information and support I have the greater my chances are for success.
Like Dodie, I did experience alot of weird sensations, especially in left side of my body.
The hospital may use Klonipin or valium. I have Dr. Ashton's manual and I believe that her method, and/or variations of it are widely used for Xanax tapering/withdrawl.
I believe i am starting on a much longer process than the 15 days at Peachford.For me that's a starting out point.
I had hopes of leaving there free of benzos, but that may be an unrealistic goal.

I hope to hear from you again. Could you tell me if you have directly experienced this process as a benzo user, or are you a professional in this field? Your experiences either way, experiencing and/or observing would be most helpful. You sound very knowledgable and articulate.

The problem with many professionals, (doctors, counselors, psychiatrists and pharmacists, nurses etc.) is that they have alot of book knowlegde but don't have the point of view of folks who are on these meds and dealing with getting off of them.

The money factor. Yes, Unfortunately alot of folks are making scads of money off of these meds in all sorts of ways.

Best regards, Peaches

366811 tn?1217426272
Let me see if I understand. Peaches is going to Peachford in the peach tree state -right? How can you miss with a combination like that! Anyway, in terms of tapering, it is not just the amount you decrease, but the percentage of the total you are taking. Thus, if someone is taking 10 mg of something, and tapers by 2 mg, they've made a 20% reduction (2/10) the first time. But the next 2 mg reduction is against a toal of 8 mg (left over from the first time) which is 25% The next one is 2/6, or a third. And the next? 2/3 which is 67%!  That's alot!

I think you'll be able to do some realistic goal setting once you're in the program. Meanwhile, be careful about assuming too much or adopting any program in particular in advance of your treatment -and keep an open mind.

And you are right -the care givers and providers often do NOT have personal experience from which to draw. What they DO have is a wealth of exposure to MANY people who have all had the same/similar problems. THAT'S the stuff you want to draw on.

Good luck -you sound like you're mind is "together." I think you'll do well.
Avatar universal
Good luck, and may God bless you.  I'm not sure if you were asking me or Ryan regarding being professionals on Benzo..well I am not, but I feel like a victim.  I am so sorry that I didn't do my own research BEFORE I began Xanax.  As stated before, I am only on 2mgs per day (for about 18 months), but it is SO hard to lessen the dosage. I spend hours on the net trying to find an answer on how to get rid of this mess.  I want it out of my body for good.  I am praying more, learning breathing exercises, etc., driving my poor husband crazy, he can only stand so much. Only God can lead to the perfect answer. Sad, I called my Doctor the other day and He didn't remember who I was; I just had a visit with him 2 days before.  I know he's a busy man, but for crying out loud, He could at least pulled my chart!!!. After the phone call, I felt hopeless and helpless. I'm 52 years old, and after I hung up the phone, I cried like a 3 year old. I regret the day I first popped this little pill in my mouth.
Avatar universal
Im on the Xanax Merry Go Round...lots of praying here...Im on .50 mgs a day..in a constant state of withdrawl..so life is tough especially in the am...I hate getting out of bed...but I am not a quitter..I dont think my shrink will admit that this dosage is addicting..but what I have read..its not only the dosage its the length of time and I am now approaching a year..I wish I never was prescribed it...but hinde sight is always 20/20...I may try that Ashton taper method..Im in the ny-nj metro area...if any knows of a good shrink..let me know..
thanks and God Bless..
ps I feel for everyone...and I hear ya dodie
361662 tn?1204239310
Hi everyone. I am feeling more optimisic after reading all your posts again.

As a recovered alcoholic I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT PEER SUPPORT IS.


The fact that were are being all of those things is a great start.

Please, do your research. From what I have learned over the past months has led me to believe  I can be free of Xanax. After seeing my psychiatrist this week, we have embarked upon a plan.
This includes bringing my knowledge, research and personal experiences to my doctor. She has alot of medical knowledge but I and y'all have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

I requested to continue a (what I hope to be) a REALISTIC TAPER . I have already tapered from 3mgs a day to 2 mgs a day, over the past 2 years. Now I wish to  accelerate the taper so i requested my pills be in .5 mgs  TABLETS and got a pill splitter .I AM ALSO KEEPING A MEDICATION LOG/JOURNAL.

Our plan is to reduce to 1.75 mgs over the next month. A .25mg decrease. I know this is more than the very slow 2% taper with another benzo for support, but I'd rather not take Valium or Klonopin as I don't think it would really help. After another month we plan to reduce by another .25mgs.

I know this will take a great deal of attention and if withdrawls symptoms get too much for me, I have the option of going to the hospital.

We were thinking that when I get down to 1 MG a day, the in-patient de-tox may be the correct thing to do. My doctor told me that weaning off the completely after maintAining on the losest possible dose is the most difficult. That may be the right time to get hospital treatment.

I am planning to consult Peachford and get an assessment as I wish to check out the facility and ask alot of questions. In the meantime my doctor will be getting in touch with the doctor/psychiatrist there who will be overseeing my treatment, if and when we decide it is most appropriate.

I am taking my 2mgs a day in 4 .5 mg dosages, which works very well for me,.Tomorrow i will begin to take 3  .5 mg doses and 1  .25 mg dose. I will take the lowest dose probably in the evening and try to maintain a low stress, peaceful lifestyle. Reading, meditating, prayer, all help. Thinking good thoughts and chatting with others helps too..

There are some good psychatrists out there, though many of them, in my experience are over educated idiots.MAKE PHONE CALLS EXPECIALLY LOOK FOR THOSE WHO HAVE HAD TRAINING WITH ADDICTIONS .Any dose of xanax over a period of time is addicting. Physically addictiong. I do advise you all to get the Aston Manual. It describes all the withdrawl symptioms and explains exactly what benzos do, and why it is so difficult to get off them.

For a fee you can download the manual and also buy the book which I did.
Also check out the The Road Back Org. they reccomend some diatery supplements which may help.

I know that a good natural, whole grain foods help me. As well as calming food such as yogurt, bananas  help and spicy stimulting foods, too much coffee, alcohol and sugar can be  counterproductive. Also the nourishment in fruits, vegatebles, protein drinks can help the body heal. Some excercise, especially walking out doors in a pleasant naural setting helps bring more oxygen into the body. Drinking water with a bit of not acid fruit juice helps keep the system hydrated and refreshed.


We don't have to be victims forever.  I look forward from hearing from you and will let you know of my progress. Please let me know how you are doing.

God bless you all,

Avatar universal
Good luck, Peaches, and God bless
Avatar universal
Hi Peaches:

How are you doing on your tapering? I have good days and bad days. Yesterday and today were good days; hopefully tomorrow will be yet another good day.  You are right about the exercise (walking). Getting out of the house and walking in a calm setting for about 1/2 hour does wonders for me, and probably others as well. I am slowly tapering from the 2mgs per day. I now (try)  to only take 1/2mgs 4 times a day, sometimes cutting the 1/2 into 1/4. If you wish to communicate my e-mail address is ***@****

God Bless,

361662 tn?1204239310
Hi I'm on my 12th day of tapering from 2 mgs a day to 1.75 and feeling fine. The first 3 days were rocky but I've made a medications log and keep notes. Tomorrow I will see my psychologist and psychiatrist. My plan is to maintain on this dosage for a month and start my new taper to 1.5 mgs a day the second week of February.
My doctor gave me a presctrion for .5mg pills. They are easy to cutin half.
It helps taking my meds in 5-6 doses a day either in.25 mgs and .5 mgs once a day , especially if i need to drive somewhere. mostly I stay at home, seem to have alot of energy now and am doing alot of cleaning and organizing on my good days.
I know this is a faster taper than the 2% recommended by others, but I seem to
able to deal with it OK.
I may do the last month of tapering in the hospital.
Wishing you all the best.
Avatar universal
Why on earth, in this day and age, are such tablets allowed exist? It is clear what they have done to so many people. Turned us into xanax addicts. Now it is up to us to try and get off the things. Am about to do the same thing myself. Reading of all the trouble people are having makes it sound like a long road back. I would seriously love to see somebody take a law suit out against their doctor for leaving them on these tablets and getting them addicted to them. It would be a landmark case and if the ruling went in favour of the patient you could imagine the amount of similar cases that would follow. As patients we depend on our doctors. We know nothing about these tablets when we are given them. It's only years down the line we find out the truth about them. By then we are hooked. Look at the pain so many people are been forced to go through. Simply because a doctor left you on a tablet he / she never should have left you on. Good luck to all trying to come off the demon drug.
366811 tn?1217426272
You are a TOTAL inspiration. Total, COMPLETE. Seldom does one have the opportunity and privilege of watching a fellow human move toward his or her own health and well-being. A remarkable example of self-healing.

I'm not just saying all this to hear myself speak (although that happens sometimes). If you -if ANYONE- reads all the responses to your post, they will immediately discern that you not only had the challenege of the withdrawal and re-entry into a new life, but also the challenges of some of the scary material in the posts themselves, which you handled with grace, dignity and aplomb. And, there is the background is your old relationship with John Barleycorn, whom you've sent packing!

Peaches, you've got ia all together, altogether! The spiritual grip, community support, nutritional component and magical ability to handle the psychiatric cases who treat you! Promise me, PROMISE me you'll hang out here to keep us abreast of your progress and insights -and to begin the work of helping others to whom your example alone is the 24 carat evidence that, yes, it CAN be done.
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